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Thinktank: Rebalancing AD&D XP tables

sandmanCCLsandmanCCL Member Posts: 1,389
Something that's drove me nuts about the AD&D xp table is how nonsensical it is. RP "reasons" aside, it just doesn't make any sense.

Most of them work exponentially and that does make sense. Fighters need 2000 for 1, then double that for 2 (4000), double it again for 3 (8000), and continue this until level 10 when it settles on 250k per level from then on out.

Most classes seem to follow this for awhile. Then you start getting some just crazy outliers and all the sudden things that used to take the longest to level take the least amount of time, and some classes have extra XP tacked on here and there, and it's just weird.

Paladins and Rangers mostly follow it til the pattern breaks at 6->7, and then starts again from 7-9, then settles on 300k per level. Every other class hits at least 10 if not higher before the XP table hits just the same value per level. If it followed the pattern of fighters, it'd only be 288k per level beyond 9, meaning they'd hit 36 instead of just 34 by the ToB level cap.

Mages follow this rule til level 6, when suddenly it only takes 20k xp again to go from 6 to 7, then 30k to go from 7 to 8, then 45k to get to 9. "wot." Then it starts to slow way, way down again. If it followed the pattern, they'd only hit 8 by the end of BG1, but be leveling faster at 12 and beyond. End game cap would be 34 instead of 31.

Clerics follow this rule til 4 (1500, then 3000, then 6000, then 13000) but at least it's not that far off what double would be. Then you need to gain 14500 to hit the next XP level. But now all the sudden we start falling the rule again when none of the other spell casters do, needing 55000, 110000 and then again we decide to break again by needing 225000. Meanwhile, mages who were leveling up significantly slower than clerics up until this point get a weird boost in how rapid they level comparitivly and hit level 9 by the end of BG1 while Clerics are stuck at 8.

Then we have thieves, who also magically start leveling faster comparitively to "the rule" at level 7 to 8. It starts going additive rather than multiplicative. (20k xp needed, then 30k, then 40k, then 50k)

Then we have druids and honestly who knows what the hell is going on there because it doesn't seem to follow any pattern, at any point, til after the nonsensical climb from 14 to 15.

I hate it. I hate it so much. Each class at the same level is comparatively powerful to each other class at the same level, not at the same XP equivalency. (Except mages, who are comparatively weak til they hit 3rd level spells and from then on just roll over everything.)

Are there any modders out there insterested in modding XP tables (and in the case of druids, their spells per day tables beyond level 12) so there is some sort of leveling consistency across all classes in a way that leads them all to be equally powerful, and lets you hit level 9 with every class by the end of BG1?



  • ShinShin Member Posts: 2,338
    Yeah, I've wondered about that part too. Would be interesting to hear the rationale behind the irregular level progression.

  • VarilVaril Member Posts: 14
    Hmm...regarding "why", I can try to make a few educated guesses.

    Druids are easy 1st ed they were a level 14 class, but became a "different" kind of Druid at level 15, hence the sudden change. I forget the details, exactly, but in general Druids past 14 were supposed to be more powerful. This isn't reflected in BG(and maybe 2e in general), but the change sticks around. Presumably they level so quickly(compared to, say, a Cleric) is because their spells are roughly par with a Cleric's, but their gear is terrible. I'm not sure I agree with the assessment, but I can see the thought process at least.

    The 6-to-7 break for combat classes is probably because they gain an additional 1/2 attack per round at 7. It's the first real break-point for them(aside from proficiencies, anyway). If I recall correctly, that's also when they gain their first spells. best guess is they start leveling faster because the class is less and less useful the higher you go. At low levels they aren't *that* much worse than a Fighter, and can do useful things. At higher levels they do the same stuff, but are past the point where their skill gains mattered, and their combat skills are starting to lag behind further and further.

    Clerics probably level so slowly because they're awesome. Monks...uh. Well at higher levels they're pretty cool, though at lower levels I'm not so sure they deserve their harsh experience climbs.

    Mages...not sure why they level more easily at higher levels than at lower. They hit level 9 before any class but Druids or Thieves/Bards. Given that Mages only become more powerful the faster they level, I can't really make any guesses here.

    If I were going to rebalance the experience charts, I think I'd start by dividing the charts into "1-9" and "11+" charts, using 10 as a transition between the two. For BG1 this is obviously irrelevant, but if you wanted the changes to matter in BG2 and beyond it'd be a good idea to plan ahead.

    Fighters start in about the right place. I might alter the experience amounts at 8 and 9 to 128k and 256k to match the previous formula, but level 10 at 500k is a good way to transition from pre-10 exponential growth to linear growth at 11+, and provides for somewhat cleaner numbers at later levels. For reference, they hit level 20 at 3 million experience pre-TOB with this design and their maximum level is 40 at 8 million XP in TOB. I would put the Ranger, Barbarian, and Paladin on the same chart. They trade higher specialization(and Dual-class options) for different specialties and low-level magic, which I think is probably a mostly fair trade. I would also add Monk. They fill roughly the same role, and are strong enough to merit a chart higher than a Thief or bard, but not so powerful as to merit sharing the same chart as the Cleric and Druid.

    Mages, again, start in the right place. Their higher starting experience is to counterbalance their eventual strength(and better represents the fact that each level means more to a Mage than a Fighter.) I'd keep their exponential growth to level 9(the relevant numbers are 2500, 5000, 10000, 20000, 40000, 80000, 160000, and 320000), and have them hit 10 at 600000. Give them an additional level every 300000 experience. For reference, they hit level 20 at 3.6 million experience with this design(pre-TOB, they hit level 18 at 3 million experience.) Post TOB they hit 30 at 6.6 million, and their max level is 34 at 7.8 million. Originally they hit level 17 at 2.625 million pre-TOB, and reach a max level of 31 at 7.875 million in TOB.

    Clerics and Druids I would put on the same chart. The gear differences aren't really sufficient reason to divide them when their design is so similar anyway. Start them in the same place as Mages, at 2500 experience per level, for the same reasons. Their magic(even early on) can decide a fight, plus early on they fight nearly as well as a proper warrior type. This means they hit level 9 at 320000, but unlike Mages have them hit level 10 at 550k. Afterwards they level every 275k. Their magic is somewhat less potent than that of a Mage, and their combat ability(without using spells to buff) is considerably less than a warrior's. Pre-TOB they hit level 18 at 2.75 million, and post their max level is 37, at 7.975 million.

    Thieves and Bards could continue to share the same chart. They aren't exceptionally strong classes, and both perform a support role. Starting at 1500 per level is fair enough, and if you maintain the exponential rate they hit each level to 9 at 1500, 3000, 6000, 12000, 24000, 48000, 96000, and 192000 respectively. Let them hit 10 at 450000 experience, and then gain a level every 225000 after that. Pre-TOB they would hit level 21 at 2.925 million. Post TOB their max level would be 44 at 7.875 million.

    At least, just eyeballing the math that's what I would do. On closer examination there could be problems that aren't immediately apparent.

  • whisper2053whisper2053 Member Posts: 12
    Here is an article that examines the differences between the class progression in a bit more detail, as well as providing some justification for it (class benefits vs. experience level gained):,_and_i_feel_fine

    Something else that needs to be considered, is that BG does not take into account the old AD&D class based xp bonuses. Warrior types got an additional percentage of xp based on what they killed, thieves got a single xp per each gp value of something they looted, etc. etc. That made a huge difference in the advancement progression of those classes, and is something that BG sadly lacks.

  • sandmanCCLsandmanCCL Member Posts: 1,389
    The argument "But it works in the end" is wrong. It doesn't work. The inconsistencies punish certain classes too much, and make it near impossible to come up with a level cap in BG1 that works across the board.

    You can't raise the XP cap pretty much at all without benefitting the classes that already have the most levels and utility even more than the guys who get the shaft. I think it's stupid Paladins can't even get to the point they can use spells in BG1, and if you modded it so they could, Druids would hit level 12 or something absurd like that, gaining 6th level spells and being even that much further ahead than clerics. Stupid. Doesn't work well in a video game.

    I think most classes from 1-10 should level somewhat similarly. Level discrepancies beyond that are totally fine, but while it's in the early stages, it just punishes people who want to play something more flavorful over a guy doing something rather vanilla.

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